Saturday, February 5, 2011

Box full o' memories

Hello out there world!

I love the Sunday Funnies. Who out there doesn't? Sometime's you run across a comic strip that's just so hysterical and timeless that you cut it out and pin it to a cork board or tape it to your cubicle wall (if they allow that at your office). Since I was little, I have done this and while cleaning up my clost, I found all the old scraps of comics that I had been keeping in a shoebox.

So in honor of this find, this week's project was a simple decoupage box. Decoupage is a French term and its used to describe the technique of decorating an object with cut outs of paper and paint techniques and varnishing the finished project. Now there is no right or wrong way of doing this. I didn't use paint techniques on this box, but you can certainly embellish your project with gold leaf or decorative touches.

What you'll need is white school glue, scissors, any old magazine or newspaper clippings that you like, Mod Podge in glossy finish (or any type of craft varnish), and a small paint brush (not too small, you'll be spreading the Mod Podge and glue with it).

1. First I chose the comics I wanted to display on my box. I trimmed them down so there wasn't an excess paper around the edges and made sure that the edges were even.

2. Then I picked out a box. I used the old shoebox that I found my clippings in. You can also get small wooden or durable cardboard boxes at a craft store for pretty cheap. Just make sure that you choose a vessel that will withstand the test of time sine you're putting so much effort into making it look pretty.

3. Take the white school glue and spread a THIN (and I stress the THIN part) layer of it where you'll be placing your first clipping. If the glue isn't spread thinly, you will get bubbling and that will just get magnified when you varnish your finished product. Also be very careful with placing your clippings. You don't want anything to tear if you decide you don't like the location of something. Plan ahead!

4. Once you're done gluing everything in place initially, you can varnish your finished project. If you're putting paint embellishments on, do one coat of varnish, let it dry, paint a layer, then do another coat of varnish. I put about 4 coats of Mod Podge on my box to get the desired affect. I didn't want to feel any seams along my comic strips and I wanted to make sure that none of them would be peeling off. I waited about 5 hours between each layer since it was a rainy day and it didn't dry as quickly as I would have liked. If it doesn't feel tacky or sticky, go ahead and put another layer on. Also, I found a few extra comics that I really liked and placed them on the inside of the box.

So its a pretty simple project and its great for kids too. When I used to babysit, I had the kids make a decoupage jewelry box for Mother's Day. I cut out pictures of flowers from Better Homes & Garden magazines. It was a lot of fun, easy clean up, and it gets the creative juices flowing.

So have fun with it. Make it something special because we all know that we have shoeboxes full of pay stubs or photos (well, maybe not anymore, but I certainly do) or knicknacks. So why not make it look beautiful and spend some time getting imaginative instead of watching a rerun on TV?

Till the next project!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Eep, I'm a blogging virgin!

Hi everyone out there in internet land! This is my first ever blog experience and I'm so excited :)

I'm creating this blog because I was inspired by my friends and family to try and share my craft ideas with people. I'll post a lot of pictures and ideas for transforming the stuff around your house into something beautiful. I know that there's a lot of stuff out there like this, but I'm a new and exciting and fresh lady who's going to get you interested! Create Your Everyday will engage you, I promise. And you need to create your everyday, really inspire yourself. Its easy enough to go to a store and buy something pretty, but its so much more satisfying to make it yourself. To envision something and see it come to life is an inexplicable feeling that this blog will hopefully help you find. You don't necessarily need to make my projects. Heck, I don't care if you hate what I pick out. I just want to jump start the creative process for you to show you how far you can go!!

My first project that I completed last night was hangers. Yes, I said hangers, like the kinds for your clothes in a closet. I bet you're saying to yourself, "How mundane and trite! She's blogging for the first time about hangers! Har har har!" and to you I say "Poo poo, you can stop reading now and exit my page".

This is how my project began: I was rearranging my closest for the umpteenth time and still was not pleased with it. I donated a lot of clothes, shared some with friends, but my closet still seemed to be lacking a certain oomph. I had purchased the same blah plastic hangers that most people buy when on a budget crunch. They're $2 for a bundle of fifteen or something cheap like that. So I said "Stefanie, let's do something with those boring commonplace clothes holders".

I should have prefaced this blog by stating that I love knitting and crocheting, as I'm sure you'll soon find out. Because of a lot of scraps from projects over the years, I have a collection of over a hundred different yarns. Plucking all the drab hangers from my closet, I sat in my living room watching back-to-back episodes of CSI and wrapped hangers in yarn. Here are the steps I took to complete the beautification of my closet. Its pretty simple and I have pretty pictures!

1. I pick two colors from my enormous collection of yarn. You can choose more but the difficulty increase with each extra step you add.

2. I start with a slip knot in each color and place it over the hangy part of the hanger. Very technical syntax, I know.

3. I do ten knots of a chinese staircase. You can choose whichever interval you like but ten looks best and its a nice even number. Yes, I'm bringing back eighth grade for you boys and girls. For those of you who don't remember or are unsure of how to accomplish these knots, click on the active link above (just remember the center strings are actually the plastic hanger).

4. After the first ten knots, I switch to the second color and do ten more chinese staircase knots but in the opposite direction.  When I switch colors, I don't put them under, I bring them over in a criscross pattern. It will look like this at first:

5. Continue the chinese staircase knots all the way around. The crease can be a tad tricky and dont get frustrated if it doesn't want to work. It takes a little trial and error to figure out how to get it to stay where you want it to. It should look similar to this when you're done:

6. If you haven't noticed, look closely at where the hangy thing meets the triangular part. Seems like there's a little gap there, right? Well my solution was to crochet a little decoration for the hanger and spruce it up a bit. You can make pompoms if you aren't a crocheter or just leave it as is. You can also do something in felt or fabric if you have scraps around the house. I made these cute little flowers to add:
Pattern for flower: Chain 2; in second chain from hook, sc 5; in each stitch {2 dc, slip stich}; finish off and leave a long tail for sewing. Use E hook for small flower and G hook for larger flower.

Sew the smaller flower on top of the larger flower. It doesn't really matter which one is which color. Choose what looks good to you.

7. So after the flowers are crocheted, I sewed them on the bald spot.
This is the view from the back where I sewed the flower on.
This is the view from the front. See how it acts like a little toupe?

8. Since you have your needle out for sewing, use it to tuck the little tails at the end of the hangy thing. After you tuck it in, cut off the excess.

After all 8 steps you're done! Huzzah! It takes about 1.5 hours to finish a hanger. Here are all the color schemes I've completed in the past few days:

Hopefully this first project whetted some people's appetites! Its pretty straight forward and simple for a first time blog project and brings a little color to your closet! Till next time, folks!

PS: If you want any advice or have any questions, feel free to ask!